Unlike shopping for other home needs like home appliances or furniture, granite countertops don’t come with a set price tag.
We all want the best prices for any product we want to buy, and it’s natural to shop around for the prices of granite countertops at different granite suppliers in your area. But how do you know if you are getting a good deal?
It’s easy to get confused and frustrated as you continue researching prices to find the right fit for your project and budget. Of course, you want beautiful granite that suits your kitchen design, and a stone company that measures your kitchen countertops accurately, custom cuts and fabricates (including all cutouts needed for the kitchen sink, bathroom vanities etc.) completes the final installation with care and precision.
But it’s not so cut and dry. You also want a company that listens and problem solves when you voice concerns about your new countertops at any point in the process. Bottom line, the educated consumer is searching for price that includes all the above (and perhaps a little something extra that makes the price especially compelling).
That said, let’s go over a few tips for unpacking and understanding different granite quotes. This important skill will help you get the best value for your money. The more you know, the better prepared you will be to get the precise color and look you want for your kitchen or bathroom at the right price.
What Colors Are Included in the Advertised Per Square Foot Price of Granite?
It’s a common practice at some low-end fabricators to stock a few super cheap, commercial grade granite colors so they can advertise such low price advertisements to get you into the door.
Of course, once you visit the store, you’ll probably be more drawn to the higher quality granites, which are in higher price ranges. This is a classical bait and switch tactic.
Not all fabricators believe in this type of practices. It is your job to figure out who is a genuine stone fabricator with real passion for the stone and their profession, and who is just trying to make a quick sale at the expense of the client’s satisfaction.
Don’t get discouraged just yet! There are still some reputable stone fabricators in St. Louis area where you can get a quality granite installation without requiring a bank-breaking budget.
Is it a 3cm Granite or 2cm Granite?
Find out if the advertised price is for 2 cm or 3 cm granite. 2 cm (3/4″ thickness) granites are less expensive than the 3 cm (1 1/4″ thickness). Most of the stone installers in Saint Louis area use 3 cm because it is more durable and creates a better aesthetic.
Does the Fabricator Allow You to Choose Full Slabs of Granite?
Reputable granite fabricators will invite you to choose the slabs that go into your kitchen so there are no surprises once it’s installed.
Some granite suppliers, especially big box stores, require you to choose from small samples. Selecting granite from samples is not a good idea; natural stone can differ significantly from slab to slab–and even from one corner to the other on the same slab. Your selection should always be based on the full slab.
The cheapest stone suppliers (cheap home improvement outlets) will even install your countertops from pre-edged granite blanks imported from cheap labor countries. You simply can’t get custom cuts and shapes for your kitchen countertops with this method, so steer clear of any companies who are using this trick to offer suspiciously low prices.
Do The Price Include Measurement and Installation?
Some granite fabricators publish lower prices but add on a templating fee (measuring fee) and a transportation fee to make up the difference.
Let’s say you got prices from fabricators A and B on your 50 sq. ft. of countertops. Fabricator A’s price is $45 per sq. ft. while Fabricator B charges $39 per sq. ft. But fabricator B adds in a measurement fee of $200.00.00 and a transportation charge of $200, then his actual price is $47 and not the advertised $39.
Don’t you agree that an upfront pricing is better than several add on items later?
Is Sealing of the Countertops Included?
You need to have peace of mind with your new granite countertops that they are protected against stains, so make sure to ask if a fabricator’s per sq. ft. price includes application of sealant.
Thanks to Nano Technology, some very effective sealers have recently come onto the market. For example, Dry-Treat Sealer offers a 15-year stain protection warranty. Make sure you know what type of sealer your granite installer uses. A quality stone fabricator will always use the effective sealers, even though the wholesale costs for these products are costlier.
Is the Sink Cut-Out and Undermounting Included?
When getting a quote, ask it the price includes cutouts and polishing for an under-mount sink, cooktop (if you have one), faucet holes, grommet holes for computer cables, and any other cuts you may need.
It is standard practice to add costs for cutouts since some projects may only a single sink cutout while others have multiple cutouts required. But you need to make sure you know which are included in price you are offered.
Other cutouts to note are outlets. If your kitchen countertops have full height back splashes, there will likely be electrical outlets that require cutouts. This is small detail that can add up before you know it if it’s not included.
Which Edge Profiles are offered for that Price?
All stone countertops need to have the edge profile shaped and polished. There are simple edges like Eased Edge, Half Round edge and then there are more decorative edges like Ogee Edge or Cove DuPont Edge.
Some granite companies charge extra even for standard Eased Edge even though you can’t get counters installed without an edge polish. Other fabricators offer 3 to 4 edges in the standard quote. Make sure you ask about this often-overlooked aspect.
Will You Have to Buy Your Own Supports for Overhangs?
If you have an island, upper bar area, or peninsula that overhangs beyond 10″, it needs to be supported by steel braces. Reputable stone companies will advise you about the need of adequate support for granite with longer overhangs. This is important for the safety of your family and the durability of your new granite.
Some low-end fabricators may not even mention the need for supports. On the other hand, stone companies that care for your safety and their reputation will discuss it even if it adds some extra cost.
Is There a Warranty on the Final Installation?
You need to have written warranty on the final installation, so be sure to bring the subject up before making your final decision on a fabricator.
Many homeowners simply make phone calls to different granite companies in their area to check the granite prices per square foot and make their decision based on whoever is cheapest. They don’t realize how many variable factors go into these prices.
In order to make an educated granite purchase, you need to see the stones offered in order to know if they meet your expectations. It’s also a good idea to see the granite fabricator’s facility to see if they have decent equipment and craftsmen and learn more about the company’s experience and legitimacy.
Just calling around and getting prices per square foot is not going to help your granite project. You need to know the real, bottom-line price for the entire installation in order to accurately price shop.
About Arch City Granite & Marble
Arch City Granite & Marble, Inc. has been fabricating and installing granite in the St. Louis area for the past 11 years. We’ve installed more than 4000 granite and other stone countertops for homeowners, custom builders, and remodeling contractors.
Our goal is to offer the best value for our customers’ money and be the highest quality granite fabricator in the St. Louis metro area.
We stock more than 100 colors of premium granite slabs in our St. Louis and O’Fallon locations. Checkout our prices. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that, at the end of the day, our all-inclusive granite prices are actually competitive with the prices advertised by low-end fabricators.